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ISSAQUAH LAW GROUP

Issaquah Law Group: Experienced Counsel; Client Focus

PHILOSOPHY: Formed in 2014, Issaquah Law Group is a law firm with one focus: providing businesses and insurers with high quality legal representation with the responsiveness of a smaller firm. ILG was founded on the principle that strong client relationships are the key to successful legal representation and strong relationships are built upon clear and consistent communication. 

LITIGATION: We work closely with our clients to fully and accurately understand their goals, work collaboratively to formulate specific legal strategies, and execute the agreed plan of action utilizing methods most likely to result in the efficient and effective resolution of the matter. ILG attorneys have a broad base of litigation experience to draw on in all Federal and State courts from on-the-ground investigations to Supreme Court appeals in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, product liability, commercial general liability, labor & employment, construction litigation, and catastrophic losses due to fire and explosion.

BUSINESS LAW: Rarely is the path from point A to point B a straight line, so our role in a business law practice is to find alternatives, devise workable strategies, and keep your business ideas, goals and objectives moving toward realization. ILG’s business attorneys help clients achieve their goals with respect to business formation, intellectual property, labor and employment, CAN-SPAM, copyright and trademark

COMMUNITY: In addition, the Lawyers at Issaquah Law Group remain active in the legal and civic community. A core commitment of our Issaquah Attorneys is community service. Our attorneys' civic involvement includes the King County Civil Rights Commission; the City of Issaquah Planning Policy Commission; the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, service as a pro tem judge. We live and work in the Pacific Northwest, and we aim to make it a better place.

In addition, through The Amateur Law Professor Blog and LinkedIn postings, we share pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as the pertinent opinions and decisions of the Washington State Courts of Appeal so that our clients can be as update to date on cutting legal issues as we are.

WA Legal Roundup: Division II

State v. Ford

Ford appeals his convictions of third degree child rape and second degree child rape.  Ford had two sexual encounters with a minor- once while the minor was 13 and the other while the minor was 14 (hence the different degrees).  

After jury deliberation, the jurors returned their verdict forms.  The trial judge began to read that the jury found the defendant guilty of third degree rape but paused after noting that the second verdict form for first degree rape was blank.  The Judge sent the jurors back to deliberate and gave an oral instruction that they must reach a verdict.  Ford failed to object to this oral instruction at trial but the appeals court allowed Ford to raise the appeal for the first time on appeal because a constitutional violation was alleged- prejudice.  The trial court’s decision was reviewed on a abuse of discretion standard.

Ford argued that this abuse of discretion reveals a substantial likelihood that the trial irregularity affected the jury verdict.  He argues that the court forced the jury to return a verdict on first degree child rape contrary to case law and CrR 6.15 when the judge instructed the jury to return to deliberations because the verdict form for first degree rape was blank and “it must be filled in.'”  The appeals court held that it is “substantially likely that the court’s instruction affected the outcome of Ford’s trial.”  The appeals court found this to violate Ford’s constitution right to a fair trial. 

The court also reversed the lifetime no-contact order with the minor because they reversed count I (first degree child rape). 

In regards to second degree rape, Ford argues that the cumulative affect of multiple trial court errors including ineffective assistance of counsel, the trial court’s error in allowing the State to amend the information, and that jurors stricken for comments relating to personal rape stories and their inability to be partial affected his right to an impartial jury trial.  The appellate court did not find a cumulative effect of these nonreversible errors to have materially affected the outcome of the trial.  Thus the appellate court affirmed Ford’s second degree child rape conviction and remanded for sentencing. 

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